What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I've been thinking about dreams a lot lately but more specifically about how most of us never live to see our dreams fulfilled. I think this comes from me trying to give up on some of them. Its a lot more difficult than just hitting a switch. In a way, giving up on some of my dreams feels like I'm not only betraying myself, but betraying everyone I ever told about my dreams. I guess a part of me feels like all those people shared in my dream also because they really wanted me to get it. Which has led me to think of the first line of this poem over and over: "What happens to a dream deferred?"
I think many of us deal with this situation in different ways. One way is to totally convince yourself that that really wasn't your dream and that your real dream was what you have already accomplished or are in the process of accomplishing. Another way is to simply let go of the dream and move on. But I also think there are some people who can never move on. I'll even go as far to say that some people begin to turn really bitter towards life when they realize their dreams will never come to them. I'm not sure which category I currently fall into. To be honest, I think I feel a bit of all three. But my question is why do we even have dreams if we know that most of our dreams will turn to poison? Is it so we can learn disappointment? Or patience? Or is it something deeper, like how we could have fulfilled our dreams if we had just tried harder? I don't know. I don't have any answers. But I do know that a man is either with hope or with despair, but never both and never neither. With that in mind, I think I'd rather dream; dream dreams as big as the sky. Why not?
"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men."
-from the book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by
Zora Neale Hurston